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Holiday Advertising Adtech

Top 3 things marketers must master to win this holiday sales season



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December 3, 2021 | 5 min read

After more than 18 months in and out of lockdowns and quarantines, this holiday season consumers are ready to spend like they’ve never spent before

Even with supply chain issues, shipping delays and an uncertain economic forecast, Q4 retail and e-commerce sales are expected to reach between $1.1 tn and $1.3 tn in the US alone. Similarly, more than a quarter of Australian shoppers and more than half of UK shoppers are planning on spending more this Christmas. Call it “revenge shopping”, the YOLO economy or whatever you’d like — taking advantage of this return to pre-pandemic shopping requires a data-driven, omnichannel approach to keep your brand at the front of consumers’ minds in the month ahead. Here are we give you our top three ways to do just that.

Find the right shopper as they search for the right gift

The path to capturing your share of this year’s massive holiday spending begins with your own data. Onboard whatever first-party CRM data you have, such as email addresses, to target seasonal shoppers that bought last year. To reach shoppers in the research phase, target audience segments based on what they have looked at on your site or the ads with which they have engaged. You can then model out those audiences to find shoppers with the same characteristics as those who buy from you most. Keeping your audience segments fluid is key as shoppers will browse, cart and purchase rapidly. As users move in and out of segments, reach customers based on what they intend to buy and drive awareness before targeting them with specific promotions.

Whether you are activating first- or third-party data, you’ll want to utilize an identity graph to ensure you can control ad reach and frequency at a person level and extend reach to mobile devices and high-quality video in privacy-first ways this holiday season.

Keep your presence – and presents – strong throughout the funnel

Covid-19 has accelerated two main trends in consumer behavior: use of mobile and adoption of CTV. M-commerce will continue to gain share of total holiday e-commerce, jumping 18.8% to $97.15 billion and accounting for 8.5% of holiday retail sales. CTV households will increase to 115.2 million by 2025, from 106.4 million in 2021.

For holiday performance-based campaigns, you want to target at the user or device level to drive performance across all OTT channels — that’s where you will see conversion. CTV is designed for awareness, so you can follow up from this channel with sequential messaging to drive engagement down the purchase funnel. As holiday travel ramps up, consider emerging channels as well, such as audio or DOOH. A unique approach not to be missed this holiday season is social display, in which you can use the same social media creative across quality inventory for engagement and creative at the scale of traditional display.

Here is the best breakdown of channels to pursue for each buyer stage this holiday season:

● Awareness: OTT formats, social display, audio, mobile video, DOOH

● Action: OTT formats, social display, online video, native, contextual, behavioral, retargeting, audio

● Interest: Display, contextual, behavioral, retargeting, audio, social display

● Conversion: Retargeting, display, audio

Select supply that sleighs

We see marketers committing to programmatic guaranteed, private deals and marketplaces to secure inventory across all channels that reach holiday shoppers. Additionally, targeting options via custom contextual segments help you reach valuable audiences during the holiday crunch. The content your ads run on is more important than ever in this age of dis- and misinformation, so seek partners that can offer packages that guarantee brand-safe inventory and transparency into how holiday campaigns are performing. Check with inventory partners, especially on PMP deals, to see if they will still have available inventory as you move through the quarter. Consider diversifying supply vendors as well as possibly moving deals to programmatic guaranteed.

The right partner should be able to help you go deeper into your supply path optimization strategies through publisher revenue reporting and working media percentage calculations so you understand all of your media fees and what’s working and what’s not.

A final note: if possible, attempt to extend holiday campaigns through the New Year to take advantage of lower CPMs and increased scale. This past January, there was a record-breaking number of returns for 2020 holiday gifts during what has become known as ‘National Returns Week’. Be prepared to attract those shoppers looking to swap out their wares for something better to put the final bow on your holiday sales performance.

Holiday Advertising Adtech


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